Unpromising Start for the Idea of a Morganatic Marriage

Monday 23rd November 1936

Behind the Scenes

The King chose Esmond Harmsworth, who had come up the scheme for a morganatic marriage, to present the idea to Stanley Baldwin. It is hard to think of a worse possible choice. Almost the only group whom Baldwin openly despised were the press lords, who had attempted to browbeat him into Empire Free Trade. This had triggered his famous remark that their goal was "the prerogative of the harlot, power without responsibility". He resented above all their pretension to speak for the British public. Baldwin was unimpressed by Harmsworth's pitch for a morganatic marriage, but concentrated his fire on the role of the newspapers.